London, UK, May 5, 2021 — Melanie Ward, IRC’s Executive Director for the UK, said:
“The meeting of G7 foreign ministers in London this week is the first big test for Global Britain. Yet, the UK appears to be falling at the first hurdle. Despite hosting this year’s G7, the credibility of the UK is already being seriously undermined by the Government’s misguided decision to slash the aid budget.
The UK is playing host to the G7, whilst also spending 40% less on humanitarian aid than before the pandemic, at a time when the UN predicts that the humanitarian need in 2021 is almost 40% higher than in 2020 (1). The urgent humanitarian situation in countries around the world should be at the forefront of these discussions. As COVID-19 continues to ravage poorer countries, millions of lives and livelihoods are at risk, with little hope of vaccinations this year. 155 million people are experiencing acute food insecurity, with the threat of famine in crisis countries looming closer.
Women and girls in living warzones are in danger of being left behind. The commitments made by G7 leaders yesterday on women’s economic empowerment are too narrowly focused to make the difference that is needed in this time of crisis.
We urgently need assertive action from G7 leaders to avert a hunger catastrophe of a magnitude and severity we have never seen before. Financial support to strengthen health systems, deliver vaccines and prevent spiralling rates of hunger in poorer countries must be high on the agenda.
The UK must lead by example and reverse the devastating cuts to its aid budget. Dominic Raab must also use this opportunity with other G7 ministers to push for more urgently needed resources, including the use of humanitarian cash, to mitigate the worst impact of this global food crisis.”
1. Reference: https://www.unocha.org/global-humanitarian-overview-2021
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 29 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue-uk.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.